Music Videos for May

Posted by Payton | Posted in links and news, videos | Posted on 05-26-2010

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Got a string of videos for you… all new.

Dawes – When My Time Comes

The Black Keys – Tighten Up

also check out the preliminary version, featuring a singing dinosaur.

Samantha Crain & The Midnight Shivers – Sante Fe

Scott Avett – Marriage (Bombadil Cover)

Josh Ritter – Change of Time (live)

Phoenix – NPR Tiny Desk Concert

Cover/Uncovered: Hesitation Blues

Posted by Payton | Posted in cover/uncovered | Posted on 05-12-2010

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It’s been a while since my last Cover/Uncovered. For the uninitiated, it’s a feature where I explore a song in which I first heard the covered version – and subsequently learned of the original, or ‘uncovered’ it.

This installment explores a blues/bluegrass standard that’s just about as close to ‘traditional’ as you can get. Written in 1914 and has since gathered more than thirty verses, the refrain being the only consistent part.

How long have I got to wait

Can I get you now

Or must I hesitate?

My introduction to the song came from Old Crow Medicine Show’s 2001 album Eutaw. The band treats the song fairly traditionally, Ketch Secor’s fiddle carrying the melody that will become familiar soon enough. Willie Watson begins with a verse heard nowhere else:

I was born in England, raised in France. Aw, they sent the coathanger, wouldn’t send the pants.

but the second verse is present in nearly every version, and might just be my favorite:

I was raised in Alabama, born in Tennessee. If you don’t like my peaches, don’t you shake on my tree.

Cover: Old Crow Medicine Show - Hesitation Blues

 

Since finding the song, I’ve located quite of few live bootleg versions from some of my favorite artists. Scott Avett does what sounds like an impromptu version that reveals the often indiscernable lyrics. He begins with a common verse:

If the river was whiskey and I was a duck, I’d dive to bottom and I’d never come up.

Cover: The Avett Brothers - Hesitation Blues (live)

 

My favorite version from my library is performed by none other that Justin Townes Earle. Justin fingerpicks that lovely melody all while strumming the rhythm and delivering an impassioned performance. He includes a verse I’ve yet to hear elsewhere:

Now I ain’t the doctor, but I’m the doctor’s son. Mama, I can play the doctor ’til the doctor come.

Cover: Justin Townes Earle - Hesitation Blues (live)

 

Moving to some older recordings, we find the Mayor of MacDougal Street, Dave Van Ronk, doing his version of the staple from back in 1960. Blues legend Leadbelly included a recording of the song on what would become his last ever recordings, done in 1948.

Cover: Dave Van Ronk - Hesitation Blues
Cover: Leadbelly - Hesitation Blues

 

Most songs this old, with so little consistency within the lyrics can’t be traced back to any one writer. But the men that wrote ‘Hesitation Blues’ just so happened to be in the music publishing business. Billy Smythe, Scott Middleton, and Art Gillham formed a band in 1914, and while on the road, penned multiple verses to go along with the above-mentioned chorus. One of the earliest recordings of the song was done by Art Gillham, also known as The Whispering Pianist. His lyrics show that the song was always meant to be lighthearted and improvised:

I’m going down to the levee. Gonna make a rocking chair. If the blues don’t leave, gonna rock away from there.

I had a sweet mama, so bashful and shy. When she mends her underwear, she plugs the needle’s eye.

A doctor’s in love with my girl, they say. I got her eating apples just to keep him away.

You must love your neighbor, like the good book say. But that don’t mean to love her when the husband’s away.

Uncovered: Art Gillham - Hesitation Blues

Spring/Summer Album Release Update

Posted by Payton | Posted in album release | Posted on 05-12-2010

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Over the last few months I’ve posted quite a few notices of Album Releases spread across April, May, and June. Here’s a re-cap for your pre/late ordering pleasure all in one convenient place:

April

6th/ Dr. Dog – Shame, Shame

buy: [CD][Vinyl][Digital]

I only recently became a Dr. Dog fan, but since I finally gave their 2008 album Fate a listen, they’re basically ALL I’ve been spinning. I also had the pleasure of catching their live show in Austin a couple weeks back, and it was THE BEST rock and roll show I’ve ever seen. If at all possible catch this tour – the light show is mindblowing.

Dr. Dog - I Only Wear Blue

 

20th/ Horse Feathers – Thistled Spring

buy: [CD][Vinyl][Digtal]

The third album from this acoustic folk outfit from Portland dropped late last month. I received my vinyl copy a few weeks ago, but haven’t had the chance to fully enjoy it yet. This one sounded good on the first pass:

Horse Feathers - Vernonia Blues

 

May

4th/ Josh Ritter – So Runs The World Away

buy: [CD][Vinyl][Digtal]

I’ll be honest, So Runs The World Away kinda bored me on the first listen. The second time through, the latter half of the disc sounded better – especially this one with it’s busy acoustic guitar:

Josh Ritter - Lark

 

11th/ Sam Quinn + Japan Ten – The Fake That Sunk 1,000 Ships

buy: [CD][Digtal]

Sam’s first solo endeavor, The Fake That Sunk 1,000 Ships showcases the heartbreaking songwriting ability we all came to love with The Everybodyfields.

Sam Quinn + Japan Ten - So Strong

 

18th/ Band of Horses – Infinite Arms

pre-order: [CD][Vinyl][Digtal]

I’ve given this one a few spins since picking it up and I like just about everything I’ve heard. This one seems to be a more melodic record than previous Band of Horses albums.

Band of Horses - Laredo removed by request

 

18th/ The Black Keys – Brothers

pre-order: [CD][Vinyl][Digtal]

The world’s best Blues/Rock duo has done it again with Brothers, the band’s 8th studio album. They continue to invent the grooviest of grooves, but Brothers isn’t as raw as the rest of their catalog – Dan’s songwriting shows through nearly as strong as on his solo album.

The Black Keys - Howlin' For You

 

June

8th/ Deer Tick – The Black Dirt Sessions

pre-order: [CD][Vinyl]

Following their meteoric rise over the last two years, the Providence Grunge-Folk Rockers Deer Tick release their third full album. They opened for Dr. Dog this month in Austin and from the sampling we heard, this one should be stellar.

Deer Tick - Twenty Miles

 

22nd/ Various – Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows (John Prine Tribute Album)

pre-order: [CD]

An All-Star cast of today’s best folk musicians came together to pay tribute to one of folk music’s best songwriters of all time. Whether it’s Justin Vernon, Josh Ritter, Willie Watson, or John McCauley doing the singing, the simply perfect melodies never let you forget you’re hearing a John Prine song.

Old Crow Medicine Show - Angel From Montgomery